Connecting with Students

Connecting with Students

Connecting with Students

Connecting with Students

Synopsis

How many teachers take the time to connect with students on a personal level? How do you find the time, anyway? Teachers who manage to transcend the normal student-teacher relationships can benefit everyone in school--particularly the challenging students--and, along the way, prevent school violence, support school safety, improve school climate, and promote learning. In a time of an increasingly rigid zero tolerance of the slightest hint of violence, which results in automatic suspension or expulsion, Allen N. Mendler calls for a more caring, flexible approach to school safety. Connecting with Students outlines dozens of positive strategies for bridging the gap between teacher and student through personal, academic, and social connections. Easily tailored to any learning environment, the activities and guidelines provide you with the tools you need in the classroom, from the H & H greeting to the 2 x 10 method, as well as the 4H, think-aloud, and paradoxical strategies. As both teachers and administrators alter their own attitudes and behavior, they learn to listen to students and accommodate their needs. The end result will be lasting relationships that can foster deeper understanding and growth for educators and students alike. In this book, you will discover ways to stay optimistic and persistent and see your students as having something to teach you.

Excerpt

In the aftermath of horrific, high-profile acts of school violence visited upon innocent children by distressed peers obsessed with death and violence, many people have blamed our schools. They point to the depersonalized nature of large, cavernous, increasingly overcrowded buildings that lack warmth and intimacy as an important contributing factor to student alienation. Virtually all suggested solutions or prevention programs include providing metal detectors, video cameras, and security personnel or police—and establishing a caring school environment in which educators know, respect, and connect with kids. Safe schools depend on creating a climate of trust so that our students share with us when either they or a classmate is in distress.

In theory, all educators agree that students need to feel connected. A longitudinal study of 7,000 teenagers found that today's teens are an extremely alienated generation. They spend more time alone than previous generations, few claim to have best friends, and most rank sleep as their most preferred activity (Schneider & Stevenson, 1999).

Though it's easy to point to schools as the leading . . .

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